Back when I was still teaching, I used to ask my students to write a “hair story.” And every, every year, every single kid in class had a hair story. That never ceased to amaze me. It seemed that we all had hair stories to tell.

I have always been a bit obsessed with my hair. Overly critical, hating my curls, hating the colour, hating the whoop-de-do that manifested itself every morning in the front. The advent of straightening irons and multiple products that I could use to curb my curls helped a lot. But I was nevertheless often unhappy with my hair. And despite the talents of several wonderful hairdressers over the years (Melvin, Chinta, Mona, Mustapha, and now Carmen), I was always seeking change. Seeking the perfect colour and cut.

I’ve come close in recent years. I always like my cut. And Carmen’s skill with colour is amazing. But, oddly enough, in my mid-sixties when I have finally moved from dyed blonde, highlighted, low-lighted to completely white, I seem to have found hair peace. Seriously. When I embraced the shades of grey that appeared during the pandemic, let the dyed colour grow out and eventually disappear onto the floor of Carmen’s salon, I found that I could bear the fact that I was not blonde anymore. Was not young anymore. Hadn’t been for years, actually. And I was okay with that. Even a bit jubilant, in fact.

I guess my hair story was a metaphor for my life. Or maybe my journey to self-acceptance.

A few weeks ago when I wrote a post about being in a good hair place, I wondered if maybe you guys, the readers of High Heels in the Wilderness, had hair stories that you might like to share. Stories about your own shades of grey, or lack thereof. And did you ever!

So, buckle up, folks. And make a pot of tea. This post is a long one.

Lori

That’s Lori, above. Lori began her journey to grey during menopause. She says her “approach to ‘the change’ was to accept a natural evolution of hormonal fluctuations with as much grace as possible.” And that allowing her hair to change at the same time seemed the “logical accompaniment.” Her hair looks beautiful, doesn’t it? Still, Lori says she often looked in the mirror and wondered “what have I done?” Her mum counselled that people at work might think she had “let herself go.” But in the end, Lori said she learned that “allowing my natural grey WAS letting myself go. (So there Mom!) It was the beginning of my intentional maturation. It was almost as if I had to shed a bit of the old in order to make room for the discovery of who I was under there.”

Barb (above) began her journey, like me, during the pandemic. She tried to maintain her colour with home colour kits during lockdown and soon gave up. Letting her shades of grey peek through, and even embracing them by tying her hair back. That’s Barb today on the right, beautifully white with one edgy, dark streak in front. “Next step,” she says, “is a pixie cut.” I predict that you will look fabulous in a pixie cut, Barb.

Yvonne after 2 months of growth.

Yvonne, above and below, says she began her hair journey while on a different kind of journey. And that after chemotherapy, her dyed brown hair eventually grew back curly and entirely white. She documented the process. Below on the left after 4 months of growth, and after 10 months and her first haircut on the right. She looks like a younger Helen Mirren in these photos, don’t you think? So striking.

That’s Karen below. Karen began her journey by cooling her warm highlights to ash and silver, then bleaching out the leftover colour, to arrive at the beautiful white on the right. That deep blue sweater looks fab with her white hair. Karen says her next challenge is to find a stylist who will make her cut more edgy and, as she says, “to stop this 70-something granny from looking like one.” I hear you, Karen. Finding a stylist who sees us as we want to be seen is a challenge sometimes.

Kathy, below, says she’d been colouring her hair since she was 18… “Remember Sun In?” And, finally, frustrated at how quickly her “skunk stripe” showed up, she decided to stop colouring. She looks amazing with white hair, although she says she has struggled a bit with her hair’s texture and fragility. Kathy’s after photo looks like a study in the colour of clothes and makeup that work beautifully with white hair. Don’t you agree?

Like Kathy, lots of women who sent in their hair stories have embraced long hair.

Dori (below left) says that she is “almost in a good hair place.” She agonized over the decision to stop colouring until she looked at photos of herself and thought, “who have I become?” She says a neighbour with long silver hair, and the silver-haired women on IG with dark hair and eyes like hers gave her the courage to begin her journey. The multi-stage process hasn’t been easy. But she says her “confidence in herself has grown as her silver hair emerges.”

Similarly, Lise (centre below) says that after eighteen months of hats and “looking awful” she now loves her natural white hair. And so does her initially “skeptical” husband. And Sue B. on the right says that after years of expense, hours and hours in the colourist’s chair, dyed ‘sideburns’ on her face, and white roots in two weeks, she now loves her “grey stripes.”

Susan R., below, has had a long relationship with her shades of grey. Starting in her teens when she developed what she called a “Mallen streak ” in her dark brown hair. I love that allusion to the Catherine Cookson series. Eventually Susan realized that her white Mallen streak had “gradually become wider and wider” and would cover her whole head if she stopped colouring. “Then the pandemic hit and the hairdressers were shut.” Like many of us, Susan saw this as her “chance” to go for it. So she did. And she says she “hasn’t looked back.”

So many photos and stories, my friends. So many shades of grey in my inbox in the last few weeks. After the first day or so, Hubby took to asking me every morning: “Any more ladies send photos, Suz?” He was as fascinated by all the stories as I was.

I love how Lynne and Bonnie’s photos, below, kind of echo each other. Both have short pixie cuts, both with some curl, both smiling and obviously in a good hair place. And both showing how saturated colour looks sooo good with grey or white hair.

Dawn and Frances, below, are a testament to the beauty of grey or white curls. Dawn has never coloured her white hair. But, as she said in her email, she grew “tired of using heat tools to straighten” her hair, and decided “to just let the curls do their thing.” I think her curls look smashing, don’t you? And Frances… well, my friend Frances, whom many of you know from her blog Materfamilias Writes, has always had beautiful curls. She started her grey transition when she retired in 2015. Extended travel and a busy life did not lend themselves to her every-five-week hair appointments, she says. Frances wrote a post back in 2016 about her hair story. You can read it here.

Sandra, below left, says that she loves her white hair although the transition was a bit unsettling at the time. Julia, centre, saw the Covid lockdown as an opportunity to end years of colouring. She says she feels more like herself now that her hair is all natural. Janet says the only times she regretted her hair colour were when she had “lapses in judgement, went back to colouring, and was immediately sorry.” These three ladies are all in good hair places now. And showing us that short, edgy cuts look fab.

Adele, below left, is “thrilled that grey and white hair has recently become so ubiquitous.” She’s always loved her natural colour but says she sometimes felt out of step, except when she and her husband travelled in Europe where grey hair was more common, and considered chic. Dottie, centre, took the plunge to transition from her long, dyed brown hair to short, curly, and grey (now white) hair. She loves her colour but says she is still casting about for a cut that works with her curls. Paula, below right, says she always hoped to become “that really cool grey-haired woman when the time came” but “gave into pressure” to colour when her hair started to go grey. Now she has “come full circle.” She’s happy with herself and her hair, and finally “working on becoming that really cool grey-haired woman.”

Let’s hear it for all the really cool grey-haired women. White, grey, salt and pepper… every shade of grey in every combination. Long, short, curly, choppy, straight, wavy, bobs, pixie cuts, bangs, no bangs. Whatever. I feel like I should be singing that song from the musical Hair.

That’s my friend Susan below, on the left. She of the lunch I spoke about when this whole hair story thing started back in February. I love Susan’s salt and pepper hair. This shot, which I took over lunch at Nordstrom, does not do justice to the bright white streaks in her hair. And that’s Valerie in the middle below. Valerie let her hair do its thing when she began to see that her very dark brown hair had become too severe. She’s really happy with her silvering salt and pepper. And so is Cathy. Who, thanks to Covid, let her natural colour have its way.

Sarah, below, says she used to have hair weaves before Covid to disguise the grey and give her fine straight hair more body. But like a lot of us during lockdown she started letting her “grey creep in… or out.” Thus began her search for the perfect hairstyle. Like blogger Cindy Hattersley’s hair, she says- “shoulder length, mostly blunt cut, minimal layering, with wispy bangs (Botox on a budget).” The style has been “genius,” she says. And has allowed her to shampoo less, and use fewer damaging styling tools on her fine hair. Sarah says she doesn’t think she is “destined for a full head of beautiful white hair.” But she has so little grey, who knows what will transpire.

Sarah

Susan G., below, hasn’t covered her grey for years. But she says she’s always been “a bit obsessed with the length and style” more than the colour. Before Pinterest, she had “a stash of hair style magazines, clippings from the Sears catalogue,” you name it. In 2020, despite the fact that she’d “always received the most compliments when her hair [was] short and layered,” and influenced by articles about older women with “long, flowing locks,” she decided to grow her hair again. Of course Covid made the final decision for her. Five months of lockdown took her from a pixie to a bob. And with potential lockdowns looming, a bob seemed the most practical style for her, the most sensible, she thought. Until recently.

In her email, Susan writes: “I shouldn’t say that my recent change was your fault, but you were certainly my inspiration.” That bit made me smile. I take no credit, Susan. But that short choppy cut looks amazing on you. Seriously amazing.

Not all your hair stories were about letting nature take its course. Linda says she stopped colouring her hair in March 2020. When lockdowns were lifted she wasn’t ready to go back to colouring every 4 weeks. Nor was she ready to go 100% natural. With skilful highlights and lowlights, her hairdresser was able to blend her grey, white, and blonde locks, blurring her line of demarcation, and allowing her to visit the salon only every 10 weeks. She says she loves the new colour… and the schedule. You can see Linda’s “before”, and “after” shots below. As well as the photo she used as her goal.

Carol, below, found her Covid lockdown grow-out favoured a salt and pepper look that, she says, did her skin tone “no favours.” So it was back to blonde for her. Since both her mum and her grandfather had “gorgeous manes of silver hair,” she’s hoping that eventually her “genetic programming” will kick in. Until then she’s blonde… and waiting. “Think I’ll check in again at 70,” she says.

Carol

Judy, below left, had “natural, warm, red hair which began to fade” in her fifties. She helps her “beige roots” along with a blond home hair-colour kit every so often. But there’s no grey yet. Nor is there likely to be if she takes after her grandmother whose red hair went golden, but never grey, until her death at age 94. Heather, below right, another blonde, says it might be time to go “au natural.” That’s if she can get the cooperation of Jaclyn, her hairdresser, who despite Heather’s admonitions that she would like the grey to blend in with the blonde, doesn’t agree. Heather says she has to laugh when Jaclyn says “too much grey” as she dabs at Heather’s roots with her little brush. Sometimes keeping a good hairdresser is worth a little disagreement, I guess.

I also received two emails from readers who did not send a photo. Like Judy, Carol, and Heather, both Lauren and Genevieve have blonde hair. Genevieve has thick blond hair that she has never coloured. It’s “not so blonde” now, but she’s happy with not colouring. Similarly, Lauren at age 67 says: “I am trying to figure out what I should do with hair that basically is NOT going grey any time soon unless it decides to do a Marie Antoinette and go grey overnight.” Lauren’s light blonde hair has faded, she says, to a “drab taupe.” She brightens it with blonde highlights. But when she gets to an age where the “blonde highlights look off, what’s next?” she asks. Where is all the advice for women like her whose hair doesn’t turn grey or white, but fades to a colour they don’t like? Search me, Lauren. I wish I had answers to that question, but I don’t.

By the way, that’s me, below, with some white-haired friends when Hubby and I were in Myrtle Beach. I was telling my friend (and host) Eunice and her other dinner guests about my “hair post” and the ladies were very interested in seeing all your photos. There was much gushing, my friends, I’m telling you. As the party was breaking up, I asked Hubby to take a photo of us four together. Coincidentally all dressed in variations of black and white. We four lined up while four husbands snapped away, and said look this way, look here, now smile, yadda, yadda. “Like paparazzi,” I whispered to Hubby. Ha.

White-haired ladies in Myrtle Beach: Donna, Eunice, Suzanne, Sue

Thanks so much to everyone who sent photos and told me their hair stories. I loved reading all the emails. I tried to give a snippet of everyone’s story. And I hope I managed to convey the flavour of what you wanted to express, even though I did a lot of editing to make them all fit into one post.

You know, we all have a hair story. Even those of us who are NOT hair obsessed like me. Our hair stories might be about finding out that white hair is not as fatal as one feared. Might even be chic, in fact. Or they might be about how our hair says something about who we are, inside. And that acceptance of one shows acceptance of the other. Our hair stories might show how we cope with change. Good change. Or not so good change. Or maybe our hair stories show that, for some of us, hair is just hair. And not symbolic of anything else.

But I think that I have learned one thing in taking this hair journey with you. In finding out about your various emerging shades of grey, or white, or blonde, I’ve learned that despite our differences, we’re all trying to navigate change. To accept aging. And just get on with things as best we can. Like they say on Sesame Street, “We’re Different. We’re the Same.” I love that book.

Now, it’s your turn, my friends. If you have a hair story that you didn’t share with us, here’s your chance to remedy that. Or maybe you’re sick of talking about hair. If that’s the case, feel free to talk about anything you want. As usual, we’re listening.

P.S. Thanks to Natalie Goldberg, and her lovely book Writing Down the Bones, for giving me that idea of writing a “hair story.” Her book about writing is still an inspiration to me. Here’s the very first Hair Story I wrote back in 2014 when I started my blog.

P.P.S. Sarah mentioned Cindy Hattersley’s beautiful hair; you can find Cindy’s blog here.

P.P.P.S. You can find more grey and white hair inspiration on a my “Shades of Grey” Pinterest board here.

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75 thoughts on “Our Many Shades of Grey”

  1. One of the few good things to come out of the lockdowns for me was finding the courage to stop colouring my short, curly hair. The rapid speed of the regrowth had become dispiriting and the discipline of getting to the hairdresser every 5 – 6 weeks was a chore. If something came up to conflict with a hair appointment, it was hard to secure an alternative date with my busy hairdresser and I was doomed to extra weeks of unappetising regrowth. I worried that going grey (salt and pepper actually) would make me look older. Well I guess it does, but at least now I don’t look like I have a head full of fake hair colour. Many, many people have said how much they like my natural colour. I like it too, and so does my husband. Sadly, my daughter isn’t a fan, which saddens me a little but I wouldn’t go back for anything.

    1. I’m the same, Maria. Rescheduling if I couldn’t make a hair appointment was difficult… so I made a point to never miss. 🙂 Now it doesn’t matter as much. I can go an extra couple of weeks… so much easier.

  2. Good on everyone for sharing photos and insights…and to you, Sue, for facilitating all of these discussions about navigating change. I’m finding it fascinating.

  3. What a wonderful idea for a post! Nice to see all the ladies and their stories. I must say that all of them look amazing with a natural colour
    My first thought -Yvonne looks like young Helen Mirren indeed
    Dottoressa

    1. Thank you so much Dottoressa and Sue. I actually had Helen Mirren’s photos on my inspiration board for hairstyles and colour.

  4. White, grey, silver. All so dramatic and eye-catching and, crucially, matching with their natural skin tones. That is the number one problem with continuing to colour hair as you age because your skin hasn’t decided to stay on-message and does its fading, creasing, fading no matter what. When hair and skin match it is very striking. Fascinating to see how the tones turn out and especially love the choppy cuts. My own hair is very short because it is now more wiry as it has got greyer and will not lie smoothly. What was once a little kink in my fringe is now a definite swerve, a bit like Tin-Tin’s. I love it, as though something that was hiding has finally come out shouting.

  5. Such an inspirational post! All the women look beautiful. I colored my hair only once back in my late 30s when auburn was the rage. It didn’t look like me so I have gone gray naturally, now mostly salt with a bit of pepper. I kept it short for over 40 years but let it grow to almost chin-length during Covid. I think the longer length looks less youthful on me, but I have become weirdly self-conscious about my lengthening earlobes as I approach 70 (goodbye to dangling earrings, alas). So, I’m inspired by the photos of the women with longer hair–maybe mine could look like Dawn’s some day!

    1. I had a bob for a few years starting back in the late nineties. I had so wanted to have a smooth bob all my life and with new products and hair tools I finally could. But I felt more like myself when I finally had to cut short again. Dawn’s silver curls are lovely aren’t they?

  6. This is such a good post , it should be splashed across the media as an example to all women who might be feeling some trepidation at the idea of allowing their hair to go grey .
    I didn’t join in as Sue already has before & afters of me in previous posts & I felt it was someone else’s turn . My main feeling reading this is , well , pride really . I’m so proud of my fellow commenters. You all look so good & so happy to have accepted grey hair with all it’s silly connotations . It’s lovely to see you all & put faces to names too .
    I must say , I have nothing against those who aren’t ready to take the grey step . It took me until my seventies before it felt right for me ( yes , Covid lockdown ) Had I realised how it would turn out , I’d have taken the plunge sooner . It was once thought of as ‘ giving up ‘ by some but now I think it shows a certain confidence & self assurance .
    I’m proud of Sue too ( I can be because I’ve been here a long time & she feels like a good friend ) . She does such a wonderful job of bringing us all together , exchanging views & speaking freely .

    1. Thanks so much my friend. I know a lot of the women who sent in photos had reservations about doing so. I hope they feel better about it now they have seen the final post. I’d hate for someone to feel disappointed in the final product. That thought kind of paralyzed me when I started writing, and finally just had to get stuck in and forge ahead.

  7. This is such a great post Sue, It’s wonderful to see so many stylish, vibrant women embracing their grey. I don’t see many women with silver hair in my area, but when I do, we usually acknowledge and compliment each other. And I have to admit that I don’t know if I would have had the courage to go natural if it hadn’t been for cancer and chemo, but I am so happy that it grew in white. I love my new hair colour!

    1. Thanks so much for sending in your story and photos, Yvonne. You know, I’m the same when I meet someone with silver hair. We immediately form a mutual admiration society. Ha.

  8. Thanks Sue!
    This post was fun, inspirational, and affirming -albeit tons of hard work for you!

      1. When my husband asked his customary Sunday morning question- “What’s Sue got to say this week?” Boy…. did he get a big surprise! 🙂

  9. These are all beautiful transitions and styles. Some fine stylists do exist!! A most encouraging post, Sue, for all of us who are trying to ‘get it just right’. Hope that you are feeling much better.

  10. One of the great things about letting your hair go natural is how much the condition improves. The hair colourant boxes can boast about the conditioners their product contains and how fabulously shiny your hair will be, but I’ve found that it soon wears off and hair becomes drab and dull . Since I stopped colouring my hair it has a shine and bounce it never had before. So many women who are adamant that they will never stop covering the grey have the badger stripe parting and frazzled ends , from repeated dyeing.
    I have one friend who has a bit of an issue about ageing, and she has a badly dyed unnatural brown bob, and I think she would look GORGEOUS with a pixie cut and with her hair left natural. I can’t quite get around to suggesting it though !

    1. I agree. My hair is so soft and silky now. Although I do believe there is a difference between having your colour done professionally as opposed to applying a box colour at home. One difference is the lack of colour build-up which a good hairdresser can manage. My hair never felt dry or unmanageable when Carmen was colouring it. But that’s because she only applied all over colour rarely, and only did my highlights every three or four months.

  11. Fantastic post! Gorgeous women all! I also transitioned to salt and pepper….did it while I was working and boy, I could see the ageism coming out pretty quick. I was in advertising with a large company at the time and remember thinking that going grey could pose a risk to my career. Then I thought….too bad if it does, I gotta be me.
    A couple of items from the post resonated for me: the necessity of having a stylist who isn’t afraid of taking the journey with you and knows how to style hair so you end up looking “old and cool”, not frumpy. Also the beauty of saturated colors and black next to that shiny mane….yaaaaaasss queen!

    1. That’s interesting, Cynthia. I remember a few years ago when I was still working, between my schedule and the salon’s schedule, I had ben unable to get an appointment and my roots were way more obvious than I wanted. A co-worker came up behind me while I was seated at my computer and whispered that I should probably go to see my guy at (name of popular salon here.) I was so exasperated that I kind of rounded on her and said, “Did you think I hadn’t noticed??!!” I am so glad those days are over. Although once I switched to Carmen, and she did both my colour and cut, and worked out of a salon nearer work things were way better.

  12. Sorry, I will never go gray. I still have salt and pepper, mostly salt, hair. It keep it short but with my original color which was dark brown. I already feel old, at 74, so I don’t want to look it too! but you all look great. you are very brave

  13. These women are all striking in their own unique ways! I loved reading through these journeys and seeing their great style.

    I’m biased towards keeping hair natural, but I can also respect when women feel more comfortable with coloured hair or a blend. What matters is feeling free to express oneself however one likes.

    I am only in my early to mid-fifties, and I’d thought of submitting a photo or two, but didn’t. I am only partially grey and there’s nothing very interesting about the transition I’ve gone through. I’ve never coloured, for a few different reasons (except for one or two impulsive decisions with friends, a bit like getting a tattoo, which promptly resulted in the coloured hair getting cut off). One reason I never coloured is probably that my mother never coloured or wore much makeup, so it never seemed necessary. Another probably has kind of feminist/rebel roots to it, in that I have never wanted anyone to dictate to me (even cultural norms) what I should look like or how I should act. That one has been a rockier road, perhaps, which your readers can well imagine. Probably another motivation is that I had delightful, powerful grandmothers, whom I adored. Both were entirely grey and entirely fierce by the time I knew them, as was my great-grandmother, actually, whom I also knew until I was twelve. So I’ve always loved and admired women in the stage of life after the main action is supposed to have taken place. I saw their incredible power and beauty, even as a young girl. Now that I am there, on that threshold, I feel more “me” than ever. I look back on the girl I was in my twenties and thirties, and while I’d like to look like the one in her thirties a bit more now, I love all of the layers that have developed and emerged in me and I would never compare my current self with the younger one, smaller eye bags notwithstanding! The fact that there are a few saggier bits now and deeper eye bags does not change what I see when I look in the mirror.

    So here’s to powerful middle age and beyond. It looks great on all of you.

    PS One thing I love in this post is the interesting colour combos, jewellery and especially glasses worn by some of the posters. I don’t need to wear glasses yet, but I love the funky frames being shown above, especially those worn by Dawn and Bonnie.

    1. I love that you had fierce grannies, Stephanie. They are the best kind. I noticed all the colours and makeup that people were wearing as well. That was as interesting as the hair… well, almost.

  14. Thanks for this post, Sue! What fun to see all of these lovely ladies with so many shades of gray and varieties of hairstyles.

    I, too, have always been obsessed with my hair and never feel that the style is quite right. I’m sure my stylist rolls her eyes behind my back when I show up monthly with a different inspirational picture!

    I’m another with “COVID gray” hair; I actually have white hair very similar to yours. I was born a dark brunette with very fair skin and realize now that maintaining that color was harsh against my skin as I grew older. I’m happy with my short white hair and get more compliments than I ever did with the dyed brown stuff. Now to find that elusive style that works with the waves around my face and doesn’t immediately poof out in the humidity!

    1. Ha. I laughed at your stylist rolling her eyes. Mine probably did too. I was always poring over the hair magazines while I waited for my appointment, or in later years scrolling through Pinterest photos. Some hairdressers didn’t like me producing a photo. But Carmen liked it. And she always was up front over whether my hair would go the way of the hair in the photo. So much so that I learned a lot and began to see which photos were inappropriate for my hair all on my own.

  15. Wow, Sue! This post turned out wonderfully! Brilliant idea, but not sure any one else could have executed it as well — not only is it a testament to your warm relationship with so many readers willing to tell you their stories and send you their photos, but who else could have woven all these together so thoughtfully and skilfully?! And the work involved! Whoa! I can only imagine how many hours you spent on this — a post that deserves to go viral! Brava, you! (Yep, all out of exclamation marks now 😉

    1. Thanks, Frances. It was a lot of work. Especially the photos, and making sure I didn’t miss anyone, then resizing and pairing them up. But I loved doing it. Especially since I could pick away at it over a couple of weeks.

  16. Love this post Sue! So well done.
    I applaud the ladies for sharing their journeys and pictures . 👏

  17. Loved this!!! I so want to let my hair go to it’s natural color but am very afraid! Both my parents had grey hair so maybe it will be OK?

    My body has definitely changed shape (fluffier middle😊) which I criticize myself about all the time! Will grey make me feel worse? Better? 🤷🏻‍♀️

    I am a brunette with highlights. My husband says I am getting lighter, ha!

    I color every four weeks, highlight when needed. Just turned 70!

    1. I think brunettes have it the hardest. It’s hard to find a highlighter colour that works with the dark brown. Or at least it seems so for my friends who have gone this route.

  18. Great post Sue. You must have worked for days on this, and after being sick, good work. When I look back at some of the hair colours and styles over the years, I could fill the whole thing with those. I stopped colouring my hair in my mid fifties, after developing an allergy to the dye… thank goodness. When I look back at the dyed locks, I wonder why. I was hoping for hair like my father’s side of the family with pure white, but came out with a blend of both sides. The front is white, and the rest is salt and pepper. When I went natural, I cut it all off to less than an inch and never looked back after it started to grow again. Slowly I am getting a bit more white as I age, but I get comments all the time about the white front. People think I dyed it to look like that, so that is fun. When I see some in my group of friends that are holding on to the dark dye, they tend to look older just by the way their skin does not match with the dark dye. Everyone needs to feel comfortable in their decision so we don”t say anything. Thanks again for this entertaining post and your hard work for us.

    1. Thanks, Diane. I wish I had a better photographic record of my many, many colours over the years. I love my white hair now, especially the little dark streak in the back.

  19. This is a wonderful post, with so many beautiful women, looking great in their hair colors. Sue, you told our stories so well. I like how you wove us together and celebrated each and every one of us. While there was the common theme about choosing to go gray (or not), each story was an expression of our individuality.
    As someone else mentioned, I loved seeing people’s choices of glasses, jewelry and tops.
    I also enjoyed reading all of the comments, with other stories about hair experiences.
    Thank you for your commitment of time and caring in pulling together this wonderful post.

    1. Thanks so much, Dottie. And thanks for participating. I felt bad that I had to edit so much out of so many of the stories. At first I put in way more content and then on Saturday night when I was finished writing, the post was almost book length. So had to go back and be very strict with myself about the length. I’m afraid that some stores were edited down to a sentence.

  20. I am 66 but turning 67 in July. I thought about submitting a story but life got in the way. Short version. I am genetically blessed. My mom and my grandma never turned fully gray. At 82 my grandma still had a significant amount of pepper in her gray hair. My mom had much more pepper than gray at 72. I have a bit of gray at my temples and a few “sparkles” scattered in my brunette hair. My hairdresser uses a color wash for shine, but that’s it. I have more trouble with the gray in my eyebrows than my hair! I’ve always had chinlenght or shorter hair. In 1990 or so I let my 1980’s pixie grow out and fussed around with various longer hair styles until 2021. After a bout in the hospital I had my chin length bob cut to a pixie with a shorter undercut. So much easier to care for and with fine fair, it looks so much thicker. My opinion is to have your hair styled, cut, and colored in a way that makes YOU feel good about yourself. Others may not agree or may even cringe, but who really cares what they think!?!? Be happy and kind to yourself!

    1. Such a great post—and, as others have mentioned, must have been a heap of work. Loved the photos and range of styles and looks. At 67 I’m very happy with my mostly salty hair, in a short cut, little longer in front with pepper peeking out under the white in back. My transition from brunette in my late 50’s involved an ever-increasing number of blonde highlights, and when I retired from full time work at 60, I was just done with all the colouring. My hairdresser Michelle was brilliant at combining a fresh style with the whites and greys. Now I look at photos of the old brunette me and think I looked frumpy! My short white hair looks fresh and I love it.

  21. Fascinating post! How interesting that all the women who went gray look better, at least in my opinion.
    I considered sending a photo, but my story is about length, not color . My hair is stubbornly a natural blond that has lightened only slightly with age. You would think I’d be happy, and I am happy about the color. My problem has been recognizing that my very fine hair looks best short. My mother told me many times that my ears were unattractive, and my response was to make sure they were covered with as much hair as possible. That was a big mistake. I now know that my ears, while not beautiful, are not really that ugly. They look like normal ears, and I look best with a fluffy pixie. My wonderful hairdresser, Jeff, helped me find a flattering but short cut that makes me look better than I have for years. And it requires almost no styling.
    Susan, thank you for all the work you put into your blog. It’s one of the best out there!

  22. Thank you to all the women who shared their pictures and stories, and to you, Sue, for pulling it all together!

    My journey to “au naturel” started a little before the pandemic and I have, for the most part, not looked back. I’ve flirted now and then with the idea of a few lowlights, but have resisted.

    One interesting phenomenon I’ve noted in myself is my perception that my reflection in the mirror is predominantly brown-haired. My colouring is similar to Sarah’s in your post (my hair texture too!), and I feel as if, like her, I have just a bit of silver woven in … but objectively speaking, my silver has taken over. My best impartial view of myself is when I see a picture where my back is to the camera and my facial features are not involved. I am definitely grey-haired, and I don’t know why the mirror doesn’t tell me this. I wonder if it’s just that the before and after wasn’t a really dramatic change (I had only ever done highlights/lowlights) and the after hasn’t fully registered …

    In any case, I’m fine with where I am and have loved reading others’ hair stories!

    1. Yes! It’s the exact same thing with me, and I’ve never heard of anyone else say this. I have wondered if it’s the lighting in my bathroom, or if I just see what my mind still expects to see. Sometimes, though, I catch a glimpse in the car’s rear view mirror when the sun’s hitting my hair, and it’s shocking to see so much silver!

      1. Isn’t that interesting? I think that seeing what my mind expects to see is most likely the explanation. And the fact that my hair is still a mix rather than completely white perhaps makes it easier for my perception to skew to the “normal” brown-haired me.

    2. I think that I take so many photos for the blog, and then see myself on IG or on the blog so frequently that I have grown into the idea of a white-haired me. That said, I still can be startled if I switch on the bathroom light in the middle of the night and confront that woman in the mirror.

  23. I love seeing women embracing each chapter of life! My journey is guaranteed to bring a chuckle..

    As the youngest of five dark haired girls with two older sisters being hairdressers, from the age of 12 my hair was curled, permed, highlighted, cut, colored, low lighted, everything but full on blonde.

    As an adult I colored my own hair in every shade of red there was. (Side bar: this 4’ 11” brown eyed/hair girl wanted to be a tall, green eyed red head 😆.) After 30 years and, being a full on Type A personality, I *knew* what I was doing. Ha.

    We lived in Hawaii when The Incident occurred. After the Saturday cleaning and embracing my usual multi tasking, I applied cocoa butter around my hairline, put the color on my hair, did my nails; and, then, got on the treadmill for my workout while the color processed and my nails dried. Did I mention it was an exceptionally humid day?

    After 30-40 minutes I finish and head to the shower. I look in the mirror to find that between my sweat and the humidity, the hair color had broken the protective seal of cocoa butter around my hairline and I had various degrees of red dye streaked down the side of my face and neck! OMG. I tried everything under the sun to remove the stains, to no avail.

    So, for weeks, I used a heavier hand with my makeup, stopped coloring and let my natural color grow back while the stains faded. My hair grew back in a myriad of colors, brown, black, silver, the old dyed red. I looked like one of my feral calico kitties I cared for. I trimmed it every two weeks to mitigate my ‘hair of many colors’ transition.

    Now, 13 years later, my hair is silver white and I am so happy with the look. Oh, and my face looks okay now too. 🤣

    1. Oh dear. That was a disaster indeed, Michelle. Reminds me of the time my sister volunteered to put streaks in my other sister’s dark brown hair. The cap leaked and Connie came out an all-over blonde. She was NOT happy. I think we all gasped and then laughed at the results… which didn’t help.

  24. Thank you for this lovely post. So nice to see everyone’s style and read about the journeys. Hair really seems to be a topic of interest for all of us. I am wondering if it would be fun to have a blog post about nail styles or nail care.

  25. Sue, thanks for this fun post and for all your work compiling our stories! I envy all of you beautiful ladies with your white and gray manes, but even without managing a total transition, I’m relieved to have found the right “hair peace” at age 68. We can’t all conjure perfection (whatever we think that may be), but if getting older isn’t about accepting (and sometimes embracing) change, I don’t know what is. Cheers to that!

  26. Thank you Sue for all your hard work putting together this fabulous post. Loved everyone’s hair stories. Also love the photo of you and your friends in Myrtle Beach.

    1. Thanks for participating, Heather. By the way, I love that MB photo too. Especially the obvious laughter that was happening at the time.

  27. What a wonderful collection of stories. I gave up on coloring my hair six years ago and haven’t looked back. It definitely was one less thing to worry about during the pandemic lockdowns. My hair is curly as well which I wear long so the combination of silver and curls garners a ton of compliments from people of all ages. It’s an odd day if I’m out and about that I don’t get at least one.

    Rena
    http://www.finewhateverblog.com

  28. I’ve had a love hate relationship with my hair for lots of years. I had regular ol medium brown hair for years so I decided to go darker with some carmel highlights. I loved it but over the years I started having to dye my hair every 3 weeks at least and it just became such a hassle. my hair stylist recommended blonde because hides grey so much easier. I have been blonde for a few years now and some days I really enjoy it. Deep down I miss the dark hair. I have been tempted to go grey but I am still fighting it. I know that for me grey hair adds on the years instantly. There will come a point though that it’s going to be time it’s just not here yet. Right now I struggle more with finding the right style for me. I’m in desperate need of inspiration.

  29. Loved this post and all the different looks. So many lovely options. I so wish my hair would go gray (or white like my mom’s) consistently. Unfortunately, at this point, it’s mousy brown with random bits of gray and a couple white streaks. The back looks like a paintbrush that hasn’t been cleaned well. 😂 I have gone from all over color with highlights, to highlights that mix with the gray so it’s not dull and the grow in isn’t so obvious. I’ve had a pixie cut for years and every time I try something else, I go back to it.

    1. I thunk for some of us the process began in secret under our colour, and by the time we were ready t make a change the whole thing was done and over. My hair was all-over grey (or white as I found out) for years before I gave up my colour. I think that makes it easier in a way.

  30. What a great post Sue! I’m feel so privileged to have been included. You wove the stories together so beautifully what an amazing and varied group! Thanks so much.

  31. Via the Miss Marple posting on Facebook on a Poirot Group I have found this blog. And I like it very much. This is just the 2nd entry I have read. The topic is a wonderful idea. One‘s hair is important for women. I don’t think it’s vanity. My hair was always thin and sleek with an ashblond colour. Potatoe colour. I so much wanted to have curls like my sister! So I tried perms and dyeing but I felt somehow disguised. I had a radical change like Yvonne, I lost all my hair through chemotherapy. My treatment was not without problems, but I survived. And my hair started to grow again in various shades of grey. And I liked the colour and the „cut“ which has developed of its own. Now 13 years later my hair is a little bit lighter, but still short, similar to Sue‘s hairstyle. And I have arrived in my inner self at last. I have accepted the passing of time, my age and I enjoy my life. That’s all I wish for everyone who reads this entry and this blog. Love from Eva from Austria 🇦🇹

    1. Welcome, Eva. I guess someone in the group must have reposted my Miss Marple post on the group’s page. Wish I could thank them. I frequently repost something I love, with due accreditation, of course. Wish more people would repost my blog posts.
      Sounds as if you are in a good hair place. 😊

  32. I was born a red hair, to the desperation of my mother, actually more auburn than red. It came from my father’s side and I was the only one among 5 children.
    And I had curly nearly frizzy hair.
    So when, as a teen, I slowly turned ash blond then dark ash blonde, my mother was delighted. Me, not so much!
    Because even if I was the target of other children being THe red, I was still feeling very confortable with my thick curly red hair and quite …unique.
    So as an adult, I used henna to be auburn again, I never used chemical colours.
    I started to feel fatigue of all the henna (and my hair quite dry) so when I started to be very ill ( I joke that I started my own confinement before Covid ever happened!) I simply let go, no more energy.
    My hair went back to dark ash blond then the greys and whites started to appear.
    I also let my hair grow.
    And then I shed my hair, due to illness. When it grew back, I had less curls, more greys and whites but still not a full head. And my hair is “long” below my shoulders.
    I don’t care and I am proud and happy to even have my hair back so getting them coloured is not even an option.
    I am certainly not considering having them short as I think that it’s so ..ageing for me.
    I like to have a bun, a ponytail, a plait or whatever. While I can still wear my hair long, I will and, indeed, I say f u c k off to all the nay sayers starting from men my age (the so called 50 something white men with pot belly and balding and looking for the younger,much, trophy wives to believe they are still in… ). I do have a blond henna applied once or twice a year when a go to my hairdresser to have a trim (I cut my hair, not very well I’m afraid)
    In France, where I live, being white hair as a woman is not something we call “chic” but just a way to be oneself. There are still a lot women colouring their white hair and others that don’t. I don’t see it as a victory, just a way to be confident in this area of my life and embracing my age. I don’t want to “cheat” with wrong colour but, to be honest, I am cheating with my brows that I draw and fill on the mornings, I cheat as I use retinol to get smoother skin.
    We are all adjusting with whatever we are feeling comfortable with: I drew the line with my hair.
    Thank you for asking this meaningful question and, again, I apologize for my broken english.

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